Bua Briefs 17 of 2011

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24 November 2011

World AIDS Day

The year 2011 marks the 23rd anniversary of World AIDS Day, thus making it the longest-running international health commemorative day. The global theme for the World AIDS Day Campaign is “Getting to Zero”, which echoes the UNAIDS’ vision of achieving “Zero new HIV infections. Zero discrimination. Zero AIDS-related deaths”. This theme seeks to encourage individuals and communities to have non-discriminatory and non-judgemental access to adequate HIV, sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and tuberculosis (TB) prevention, treatment, care and support.

In South Africa, this annual event will be celebrated in the Eastern Cape under the subtheme “South Africa is Taking Responsibility … on a PATH to Eliminating the TB and HIV Epidemics”. During the 2011 World AIDS Day Campaign, emphasis will be on providing universal access to HIV, STIs and TB prevention, treatment, care and support. This is complementary to the global theme as South Africa will continuously strive to achieve zero HIV infections.

World AIDS Day is used to raise awareness and launch the National Strategic Plan for HIV and AIDS 2012 – 2016 (NSP), which is a single integrated and national strategic guide for HIV, STI and TB initiatives for the next five years. The decision to include TB was primarily due to the high co-infection rate between HIV and TB. The NSP will be reviewed periodically because it is intended to respond to the changes in the twin epidemics for relevance, effectiveness and the necessary adjustments made.

Government, led by the Deputy President, will embark on a Policy in Action on TB and HIV (PATH) Campaign. The aim of the PATH Campaign is to hear the views of communities regarding HIV and TB, and through the South African National AIDS Council (SANAC), ensure that these community-based issues are addressed by the relevant ministries and SANAC sectors. These community interactions will then form the basis for the Annual PATH Update on World AIDS Day. The update will provide the country with a sense of the achievements and challenges of the year, and provide the country with a vision of the response to HIV and TB in the year to come.

A highlight of the World AIDS Day programme will be the launch of the NSP that is aligned with international and regional obligations, commitments and targets related to HIV, STIs and TB. The NSP actions a key priority of government as outlined in the Medium Term Strategic Framework, namely to ensure “a long and healthy life for all South Africans”. The initiatives will also contribute towards the achievement of the millennium development goals (MDGs) by 2015.

The 2011 World AIDS Day Campaign will achieve the following objectives:

  • demonstrate policy in action by showcasing government’s commitment in tackling poverty, health and the social needs of our society
  • intensify and sustain the provision of HIV Counselling and Testing (HCT) and health screening services for TB and other non-communicable diseases as part of an integrated prevention strategy
  • mobilise individuals in the high density, mobile areas and deep rural nodes to access health and wellness services, including HCT
  • intensify prevention and responsible behaviour messages throughout the festive season.

Government, in consultation with all stakeholders, developed the NSP for HIV and AIDS for the period 2011 to 2016. The plan seeks to achieve the following broad goals:

  • reducing new HIV infections by at least 50% using a combination of prevention approaches
  • targeting to reduce transmission of HIV from mother to child to less than 2% at six weeks after birth and less than 5% at 18 months of age by 2016 means that pregnant mothers must visit antennal clinics and get tested timely
  • initiating at least 80% of eligible patients on antiretroviral treatment (ART), with 70% of those alive and on treatment five years after initiation
  • reducing the number of new TB infections as well as deaths from TB by 50%
  • ensuring an enabling and accessible legal framework that protects and promotes human rights in order to support implementation of the NSP
  • reducing self-reported stigma related to HIV and TB by at least 50%.

The focus of the health system's HIV, AIDS, STI and TB programmes will be to provide health services by taking advantage of the re-engineered primary healthcare (PHC) approach that is centred on communities and households. HIV, AIDS and TB services will be completely integrated with PHC services.

Key messages Supporting statements
By taking responsibility, working together we can overcome HIV and AIDS, STIs and TB
  • The NSP outlines prevention measures such as: annual testing/screening for HIV, TB and STIs; improved contact tracing; increased access to high-quality drugs; early diagnosis and rapid enrolment into treatment; and improved access to treatment for children, adolescents and youth.
  • The NSP is a critical document to enable the country to coordinate and build efforts to control HIV, STIs and TB and mobilise buy-in and for accountability.
  • Government and its agency, the SANAC, will strengthen its communication, coordination and information to stakeholders to ensure implementation of the NSP by stakeholders at all levels.
    • The document will be widely distributed to all stakeholders. A simplified and accessible version of the NSP will also be published in all official languages and Braille, for distribution to the general public.
    • Electronic versions of the full NSP, the simplified version and provincial implementation plans will be available on the SANAC website. A Facebook page (linked to the SANAC website) will be established to encourage discussion about the NSP and for continuous feedback from the public.
  • Every government department, sector and provincial authority will need to develop implementation plans by March 2012.
  • Provincial strategic plans will similarly be published and simplified within the provinces in the most appropriate languages for that province.
  • NSP quarterly reports and the Mid-term Review will also be made available in print and online. A simplified version of the Mid-term Review will be published and provincial workshops will be held with stakeholders to discuss findings and recommendations.
The NSP for HIV, AIDS, STI and TB 2012 – 2016 will reduce new HIV and TB infections and reduce infant mortality.


  • The HCT Campaign has reached over 14,7 million South Africans. Thirteen million people were tested in public health facilities.
  • We are slowly restoring public confidence in public health and have the chance to create unified, coherent and effective public awareness of HIV and AIDS.
  • The Department of Health champions a major initiative to improve the health of women and children. A key element is the significant reduction of mother-to-child transmission rates of HIV which contributed to a reduction in maternal and child mortality rates. The rate of mother-to-child HIV transmission has fallen to 3,5%.
  • The procurement and distribution of male and female condoms through medical and non-medical agencies have greatly increased – 177 million were purchased and distributed in the initial phase of the prevention campaign.
  • Evidence from our research institutions indicates that young people are now responding positively to safer sex messages which led to a decline in new HIV infection among young people in our country.
  • We have put in place a policy framework on decentralised and de-institutionalised management for South Africa to decisively curb the rise of TB and particularly drug-resistant TB (DR-TB).
  • Many more people are receiving ARV treatment.
Government calls on all sectors and individuals to commit to the “Path to Zero” to realise a HIV- and TB-free generation.
  • All sectors of society must interrogate their role in addressing the pandemic and show that WE ARE RESPONSIBLE for each other in ensuring a healthy society.
  • South Africans must wear red ribbons in solidarity with the world to show support and responsibility in the fight against HIV, AIDS and TB.
  • The NSP calls for partnerships among all South Africans, homes and communities, especially non-governmental organisations, workplaces and places of worship to support and engage on the plan in uniting around implementation.


World Trade Organisation (WTO) - The eighth session of the Ministerial Conference

The eighth session of the Ministerial Conference (MC8) will be held in Geneva, Switzerland, from 15 to 17 December 2011.

South Africa views multilateralism as the necessary intergovernmental response to managing globalisation and the deepening interdependence of national economies.

South Africa has also advocated that the voice and the developmental interests of developing countries – where the majority of the world’s people live – should be fully accommodated in all multilateral institutions of global governance.

Key message Supporting statements
South Africa’s support for the launch of the Doha Round was based on the agreement that negotiations would place the needs and interests of developing countries at the heart of the work programme.
  • We remain committed to the principles of multilateralism, transparency and inclusiveness.
  • Proposals to advance negotiations among a limited number of members (so-called plurilateral approaches) would undermine these principles, and further marginalise the most vulnerable and weakest developing countries in international trade.
  • Such approaches also aim to extract greater access into the markets of emerging developing countries and, as such, are unfair, unmandated and anti-development.
South Africa is concerned that the development mandate agreed at Doha in 2001 has been steadily eroded over the course of the negotiations.
  • Steady reduction in the ambition to reform trade rules in agriculture, the litmus test for the developmental agenda, has been accompanied by growing demands to open the markets of emerging developing countries in the areas of industrial tariffs and services.
  • These demands are particularly harsh on South Africa which would be required to take wide and deep tariff cuts in industrial products.
  • Acceding to these demands would undermine our industrial and employment objectives.
  • Continued agricultural protection and subsidies in developed countries undermine the developmental prospects for a large number of developing countries, including many in Africa.
South Africa remains committed to concluding the Doha Round on the developmental mandate agreed at Doha in 2001.
  • South Africa believes that proposals to introduce new issues onto the multilateral agenda are premature. Such issues could only be contemplated once the unfinished business of the Doha Round is completed.
  • In the context of the current stand-off in negotiations, the eighth WTO Ministerial Conference should aim to deliver a package of measures in favour of least developed countries.
  • Such a package would lend the multilateral trading system credibility and legitimacy by responding to the needs of the poorest and most vulnerable members of the WTO.


16 Days of Activism for No Violence against Women and Children

The 16 Days of Activism for No Violence against Women and Children is an international campaign. It takes place every year from 25 November (International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women) to 10 December (International Human Rights Day). The period includes Universal Children’s Day, International Day for Disabled Persons and World AIDS Day.

Although the global campaign focuses on violence against women only, South Africa added children to its campaign because of the high incidence of child abuse in the country.

This campaign has been profiled and implemented in South Africa since 1999. The South African Government runs the 16 Days of Activism Campaign to create public awareness of the negative impact of violence on women and children and to encourage collective action against all types of abuse and its prevention in our communities. We are firmly committed to lead a coordinated effort to sustain the campaign into the next decade.

In 2011, the 16 Days of Activism Campaign will be undertaken under the theme: “From Peace in the Home to Peace in the World: Proliferation of small arms and their role in domestic violence.”

The five subthemes will be:

  • bringing together women, peace and human rights movements to challenge militarism
  • proliferation of small arms and their role in domestic violence
  • sexual violence in and after conflict
  • political violence against women, including pre-/during/post-election violence
  • sexual- and gender-based violence committed by the police and armed forces.

Every year, government, civil-society organisations and the business sector across the continent and globe work together to broaden the impact of the campaign and increase the reach. The 365 Days National Plan was set up in 2006 to eliminate the physical, mental and/ or social abuse, which was implemented through a multisectoral approach with some challenges of institutionalisation and limited financial and human resources.

The 16 Days of Activism Campaign serves as a catalytic mechanism to support government outcomes on gender equality and the protection of children and other vulnerable groups. It also cuts across government’s five key priorities and the 12 outcomes in line with the Results-Based Management Strategy.

This campaign actively supports the priorities of government to empower women, in particular rural women grappling with the challenge of unemployment and poverty; and protects the rights of the child.

During the campaign, government will mobilise communities around the national effort to reduce arms in society, which tend to be the common denominator in many cases of domestic violence.

While there is slight improvement, the levels of physical, emotional and sexual abuse experienced by women and children remain unacceptably high. The recently released crime statistics for 2010/11 indicated that:

  • The murder of adult women increased by 5,6% and sexual offences against children (younger than 18 years) increased by 2,6 %.
  • However, all other social contact crimes against women and children decreased by margins of between -29,4% and -0,8%. This is in quite sharp contrast to 2009/10, when in most cases, significant increases in social contact crimes against women and children were recorded.
  • Sexual offences in general indicates a ratio decrease of -4,4%, from 138,5 sexual offences per 100 000 of the South African population in 2009/10 to 132,4 per 100 000 in 2010/11. This represents a decrease of 2 136 cases, from 68 332 to 66 196.
  • The ongoing rape of members of the gay and lesbian community is a crime that will not be tolerated. The Criminal Justice System will deal harshly with the perpetrators of these so-called “corrective rape” crimes.
  • A person who kills and extracts body parts has not only committed murder but has violated human rights. There is nothing that can drive a person to commit such horrible crimes against women and children as there are no benefits to be derived from imithi with human body parts.

Play Your Part: support government interventions to advance equality and empowerment of women and children.

  • The Domestic Violence Act, 1998 was enacted to afford survivors of violence maximum protection from domestic abuse. Women being at the most receiving end of domestic violence now have a legal recourse that will ensure their protection.

  • The Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act, 2000 was passed to ensure that women have equal enjoyment of rights and freedom, in addressing the wrongs of the past. Ukuthwala discriminates against gender by perpetuating the abduction of girls and women and violates the Act. Communities should expose these practices and girls should speak out wherever they happen.

  • The Employment Equity Act, 1998 was passed to ensure non-discrimination in employment, occupation and income within the labour market. It encourages equitable representation of women and other historically disadvantages persons at all levels of public and private entities.

  • The Maintenance Act, 1998 was legislated to guarantee the rights of a child to a living standard which is adequate for physical, mental, spiritual and social development. The Act ensures that maintenance for the child is recovered from the parents or other persons financially responsible for the child.

Key message Supporting statement
“Play your Part” in making your community safer.


  • Wear your White Ribbon from 25 November to 10 December 2011 and show your support.
  • Speak out against woman and child abuse. Encourage silent female victims to talk about abuse and ensure that they get help. Report child abuse to the police immediately. Encourage children to report bullying behaviour to school authorities.
  • Volunteer for non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and community groups which support abused women and children. Use your life skills and knowledge to help support victims of abuse.
  • Contact your local police station to find out how you can join and contribute to a community policing forum, in creating safer and functioning communities.
  • Men are critical partners in the fight against the abuse of women and children.
  • Families must stick together to create a safe environment for women and children.
  • Parents and adults: Don’t expose your children to sexual and violent material such as pornography etc.
  • Make a contribution to the Foundation for Human Rights, which receive money raised during the campaign and distribute it to NGOs. Contact the Foundation for Human Rights, telephone: 011 339 5560/1/2/3/4/5.
  • Engage in online dialogues such as the Cyber Dialogues organised by GenderLinks which provide a platform to share issues and experiences and offer solutions. Professional experts in the caring professions participate in the online chat room.
  • Get connected with important contacts and information published on www.womensnet.org.za
  • According to the International Action Network on Small Arms Women’s Network, women are three times more likely to die violently if there is a gun in the homes. Report illegal guns to the South African Police Service.
Government and civil society are committed to preventing and eradicating gender-based violence.
  • Government is establishing a Council on Violence against Women and Children. It will comprise key government departments, civil-society organisations and other relevant partners. It coordinates comprehensive initiatives implemented to stop the scourge. Substance and alcohol abuse lead to social anomalies.
  • The proposed Gender Equality Bill will provide government with the necessary legislative authority to fast-track the empowerment of women and address issues of enforcement and compliance towards the attainment of our target of 50/50 gender parity. The final Draft Bill will be submitted to Cabinet for approval by March 2012.
  • The development of a barometer to measure the number of women who will benefit from the five million jobs that we seek to create in the next 10 years, will facilitate a sectoral input into the aims of the New Growth Path, which will highlight the high impact of unemployment on women.
  • Government provides support to children to fight child poverty. We currently have more than 10,5 million children who benefit from the Child-Support Grant, while we provide foster care benefits to over 563 000 vulnerable children. Government also subsidises close to 800 000 children at early childhood development (ECD) centres to enable children from poor households to obtain early education. In addition, more than eight million children at primary and secondary schools benefit from school-feeding schemes.
  • While the economy shed many jobs during the recession with a negative impact on families, the United Nations Children's Fund’s report highlights that “it appears the institutionalisation of social protection programmes in South Africa, especially the child-support grant, have paid off in terms of assisting poor families”.
  • On 6 June 2011, government launched the Strategy and Guidelines on Children Working and Living in the Streets. This strategy provides guidance on the services and programmes to be rendered to children living and working in the streets.
  • We have the Expanded Public Works Programme and Community Works Programme to provide short-term employment opportunities while also responding to pressing community challenges.
  • On 1 June 2011, Government launched the ECD Programme to provide a conducive environment and supporting services that contribute to the development of children. Registration at these centres enables them to access a subsidy of between R9 and R15 per day per child enrolled in that facility.
  • The Green Paper on Families seeks to strengthen and support families as the cornerstone of a well-functioning society.
  • Gay and lesbian rights are human rights. Corrective rape will not be tolerated and perpetrators will face the might of the law.
  • Government led a national Rural Women’s Summit in May 2011 to empower women with information on how to access various departmental programmes. With the help of government, women in Tzaneen run successful farms, mining as well as arts and crafts projects. These projects employ a number of people and their products are sold in domestic and foreign markets.

Government provides services, and support to prevent and eradicate the abuse of women and children.

  • Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences units were established in all 176 policing areas. Police officers have been trained to deal with these cases with the sensitivity they deserve. Forensic social workers are hired to assist child victims in particular to submit the evidence necessary to support conviction. Speak out against woman and child abuse. Encourage victims to talk about abuse and ensure that perpetrators are reported.
  • Thuthuzela care centres are located in various areas in the country marred by high incidence of violence against women and children. These one-stop centres enable rape victims to lodge a case with the police and receive counselling and medical care. This includes the prevention of HIV infection and unwanted pregnancy. Thuthuzela care centres were introduced as part of South Africa’s Anti-Rape Strategy, aiming to reduce secondary victimisation, improve conviction rates and reduce the cycle time for finalisation of cases.
  • From April to August this year, the number of victim support rooms increased from 806 to 900 across the country.
  • Government departments, Chapter Nine institutions and civil-society organisations developed a Victims Charter which contains the Minimum Standards on Services for Victims of Crime. The minimum standards set out processes and responsibilities of government department role players in the Criminal Justice System, minimum standards on services for victims of crime and complaints mechanism. The charter aims to achieve the following:
    • eliminate secondary victimisation in the criminal justice process
    • ensure that victims remain central to the criminal justice process
    • clarify the service standards that can be expected by and are to be accorded to victims whenever they come into contact with the criminal justice system
    • make provision for victims’ recourse when standards are not met.



Basic education

Strategy to address low literacy, numeracy rates
The Council of Education has approved an Integrated National Literacy and Numeracy Strategy as part of the Basic Education Department's response to the address the low achievement levels of learners in literacy and numeracy. The strategy will target classrooms and teachers as key levers for change in learner performance.

Higher education

Higher education department to fund learnerships
As part of the agreement between government and the private sector to widen access to post school education and training for the youth; the Department of Higher Education is giving more than R70m to fund training in post-school learnerships. The Department has partnered with National Treasury, the SA Institute of Chartered Accountants and municipalities to provide learnerships for mid-level financial administrators in municipalities.


Cosatu and business back government's Green Accord
Government's has signed an all-inclusive Green Economy Accord that has won the support of its key partners. The agreement aims to create 30,000 jobs in the green economy sector in the next 10 years with business committing to creating 50,000 jobs. The Accord will result in the country relying less on the capital-intensive mining sector and more on manufacturing in order to create jobs.


South Africa seeks partners for renewable energy fund
Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan announced that government has made available 800 million rand for renewable energy projects in order to establish its own renewables fund and is seeking private partners to manage the fund to ensure a more coordinated approach. Public Enterprises Minister Malusi Gigaba said the loan showed great investor confidence in South Africa and Eskom.

Eskom embarks on solar pilot project
Eskom has embarked on a pilot project that will see it using solar power to generate electricity at three of its facilities. The entity, together with Minister Malusi Gigaba, launched a solar photovoltaic (PV) installation designed to introduce renewable energy sources to supply power for internal use at Eskom's coal-fired power stations which will reduce the company's carbon footprint by about 2,845 tons a year.

SA to install a million solar heaters by 2014
South Africa has made a commitment to install a million solar heaters by the end of the 2014 financial year. President Zuma said through the New Growth Path, Government is taking practical measures to promote the development of a green economy and that the state was taking its responsibilities with regards to responding to Climate Change seriously.


Drastic increase in ARV’s decreases HIV infection
The UNAids report has revealed that South Africa has made significant investment in combating HIV with the most impact being on the prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission. Around 95% of pregnant HIV-positive women are now getting antiretrovirals to prevent mother to child transmission. According to UNAids, this achievement “reflects political commitment, strong civil society engagement, decentralised service delivery and empowerment of nurses to administer antiretrovirals.”